Scottish retail sales increased 1.5%, year-on-year for the month of December 2012, said the data published by the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC).

Like-for-like sales for the period rose 0.3% while total food sales were up 1.4%.

Total non-food sales, however, increased 1.5% year-on-year, the best return since March 2011.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) also reported an annual shop price inflation of 1.5% for the month, implying that the sales in real terms were flat.

SRC noted that for the first time since January 2011, Scotland’s retail sector had matched the overall UK performance; excluding Easter, this was the strongest growth since December 2011.

Scottish Retail Consortium director Fiona Moriarty said the results project an improvement in trading for the Scottish high street.

"After a year of belt tightening, that left Scottish retailing consistently underperforming the UK as a whole, it seems significant numbers of people decided to put their jobs and money worries on hold and spend.

"The overall revival was driven by non-food goods where growth was positive for the first time in 2012.

"This suggests people had been economising to treat family and friends with nice presents," said Moriarty.

Looking ahead to the New Year KPMG Retail Head David McCorquodale remarked that January sales are expected to be challenging.

"The lack of economic growth and shaky consumer confidence means 2013 may be yet another year of deferred discretionary spend, making life difficult for the average Scottish retailer for the foreseeable future," opined McCorquodale.